Rescue hens eating their own eggs

Nancyjane

In the Brooder
11 Years
Nov 9, 2008
25
0
22
I got some rescue hens (from an egg farm, full of hormones and raised in cages) from the Humane Society.
They didn't know where to lay at first and couldn't get up to the nests, so I gave them nest boxes on the ground. Great layers for several months, but have recently started eating their own eggs!!!!!
They also aren't using the nests! I tried putting some golf balls in the nests so when they pecked at them they would get a surprise, but so far, no go!
Being recently layed off(That's a pun folks, but true), we are thinking that it isn't worth it to keep raising the chickens since we aren't getting the eggs!
Does anyone have any ideas how to fix this?
With regular chickens, I might let them go free range, but these rescues are dumb as sticks and wouldn't last a couple of days out of the pen. I would feel really guilty letting them out to face hawks, cats, dogs etc. etc.
Any help or ideas would be appreciated!
Nancy
 

joy

Songster
12 Years
Aug 17, 2007
107
10
144
Lancashire England
They just might suprise you if you let them out.
wink.png
 

Bantimna

Songster
10 Years
Sep 29, 2009
5,089
25
241
South Africa
I think i have the answer:
If your birds are egg eating look at their diet, their genetics, and their environment.
Egg eating is rarely a habit formed from an occasional lucky broken egg.

Its much more likely that they booby
trapping a few eggs with chilli, curry, etc which Most find a deterrant.
Egg eating can be a lack of calcium, a lack of protein and general
nutrition,and boredom.
 

toxo

Songster
12 Years
Jun 4, 2009
101
1
189
Gillingham, UK
I agree with Joy. I've had three rescued ex-batts for around a month now. I had to watch the dogs with them for a couple of days but after that they give as good as they get and now they're all in the garden together.
Of course my situation is different to yours. I'm in an urban terraced house in Kent, England and so I don't have hawks and such to worry about. I'm expecting Mr Fox to put in an appearance eventually so they're locked up when I go out.
The other thing that might make a difference is the layout of the coop. Mine is a raised coop with a nest box and wood shavings. They go up the ramp to the nest box to lay and straight away they're out in the run again looking for food so maybe the temptation to eat the egg is removed if it's out of sight.
The first couple of eggs were laid under a bush and under the coop but it didn't take them long to start laying in the nest box.
Let us know how you get on.
 

Anny

Songster
11 Years
Apr 24, 2008
1,466
13
181
Detroit Michigan
When mine where eating their eggs I places golf balls in the nest, and they stopped.I think they tried to eat the golf balls and when they couldn't they gave up.
 

Nancyjane

In the Brooder
11 Years
Nov 9, 2008
25
0
22
Joy- the neighbors have lost 5 hens to hawks. We also have coyote, fox and other critters.

Their diet seems to be adequite- laying mash, scratch, leftover veges and fruit, rice and other goodies with some egg shell ground up from time to time.

I guess I could put a store bought egg out there with cayenne or hot sauce or something. I'll give that a try.

A raised coop is a possibility! I've been wanting to move them closer to the house anyway, and my neighbor has a great unused for years coop that is up on posts. I'm just not sure if they're smart enough to go up the ladder to get in there! They haven't figured out (in 6 months) how to go up the ladder to the nests!

Thanks for the help! NT
 

Nancyjane

In the Brooder
11 Years
Nov 9, 2008
25
0
22
Well, I totally covered an egg in hot sauce and it's gone! DH says he has read that chickens' taste buds don't register HOT. SOMETHING ate it!
I'm still working on getting a smaller raised house for them. If that doesn't work I'll have to give them away as pets. They're too scrawny to eat!
It's too bad, cause they were both very good layers. Nice extra large eggs almost every day. They just love to eat them now!
 

kathyinmo

Nothing In Moderation
12 Years
May 14, 2009
24,541
354
476
(SW MO) Nevada, Missouri
My Coop
My Coop
I use cayanne pepper every other day, on the layena. It is used as
a preventative for worms. Correct: The "hot," does not register. I have read others have tried mustard in an egg, etc. Those things do not work, and they will eat the mustard, etc.

I don't have an answer for ya, but I will keep reading and see if I can find anything that works.
Good luck!
Kathy
 

Imp

All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle
11 Years
Sep 7, 2008
14,453
179
318
The Emerald City
My Coop
My Coop
People have had success with filling a blown out egg with liquid dishwashing soap. Others have put curtains in front of the nests to make it darker. I think what helped me was rearranging the coop and adding buckets for nests. I also use several golf/pingpong balls in each nest. Some people have roll away nests, so the eggs roll out of the hens reach.

Good luck

Imp
 

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